Creative Writing MFA Alumni Spotlight: Kelley Beeson ('99)

Author: Paul Cunningham

Kelley Beeson

"This book is a journey, one full of stillness and booming, surety and questions, and 'the confusing sparks of electricity and chaos' that kept me wanting more." 

— Michelle Stoner, Lefty Blondie Press 2023 First Chapbook Contest Judge

Kelley Beeson ('99) was recently named the winner of Pittsburgh-based Lefty Blondie Press's 2023 First Chapbook Contest. Beeson's manuscript Undress was selected for publication by poet Michelle Stoner and is currently available for preorder. Of Undress, the judge writes: "This manuscript is a collection that's sure of itself. I trust the authority of the voice immediately, and feel keenly that I'm going to be brough along as the speaker learns to trust in herself, too. It is walking this path alongside the speaker—the surprises that meet her are my surprise, the explorations are my finds—that draws me so close to these powerful and carefully-ordered poems. So, by the time I had swum in her pain-dreams, grieved big losses, and danced it all out with this speaker, I felt I was also redeemed by the abundance she receives in the end. This book is a journey, one full of stillness and boombing, surety and questions, and 'the confusing sparks of electricy and chaos' that kept me wanting more."

Joy Katz, author of All You Do is Perceive, also praised the debut writing, "Beyond love, beyond being left, beyond carrying our dead by dancing with them, beyond everything that we tend and wreck, nourish and burn, grieve and dream, is a nakedness light as drugstore ribbon."

The author will celebrate alongside Michelle Stoner and Jan Beatty at the Undress book launch event happening at the White Whale Bookstore on September 7th at 7pm est. 

Kelley Beeson is a poet and librarian living and working in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work has been published in Kaliope (where she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize), Pittsburgh City Paper, and The Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange. Beeson has been a librarian for 20 years and has been a member of the Madwomen in the Attic of Carlow University writing workshops since 1992. She received her BA in Creative Writing from Carlow and her MFA in Poetry at The University of Notre Dame.